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How an Argentinian migrant brought one of the first tango classes to Austin

When Monica Caivano, the co-founder of Esquina Tango, moved to the states, she quickly realized no one was offering tango classes. So she got to work.

AUSTIN, Texas — Central Texas continues to grow and become more diverse every day. As part of KVUE's celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, we wanted to highlight one Latina who has brought a little bit of Argentinian spice to East Austin. 

Monica Caivano, the co-founder of Esquina Tango, began teaching tango in Austin in 1997. But her career in tango actually began way back in Buenos Aires, Argentina, when she was only a teenager.

"I just really love anything that has to do with the expression of the body connecting with other people," Caivano said.

When she moved to the Lone Star State, Caivano quickly realized no one was offering tango classes.

"We couldn't find anybody," Caivano said. "We found a couple of dancers, and we started meeting in somebody's living room and, you know, practicing."

Over time, more residents began joining them, causing the living room they practiced in to become too small. Once the class moved into a larger studio, Caivano eventually founded her own business in East Austin. 

"East Austin is what felt the most connected to our roots," Caivano said. "Has more life, more culture, more diversity, felt more urban."

Before Esquina Tango was in its current building, Caivano said it was originally a church. 

"It needed a lot of love," Caivano said. 

As part of the renovation process, the floors were changed and the walls were patched and painted to become what it is today. 

Twenty years ago, when Caivano first moved to the U.S., her business was nothing but a dream. After building her tango studio into what it is today, Caivano realized it has become an East Austin gem.

"It's like it's part of the landscape of Austin," Caivano said.

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